Crime Without Punishment When Killed By The State
By TruePublica Editor: In recent times we are learning more and more about how Britain’s government is no longer acting in the best interests of its citizens due to its neoliberal ideology and imposed austerity model. Two ways this is demonstrated is in the shock report published today that the National Health Service now has one of the lowest levels of doctors, nurses and beds in the western world. This is in readiness of the ramping up of the privatisation drive as America has already stated – no access to the NHS, no trade deal. The jewel in Britain’s crown is to be handed over to profit-driven capitalists who manage the Western world’s most divisive, expensive, unequal and rotten health care system to have ever been devised.
In another report, air pollution was found to be implicated in the premature deaths of 50,000 people in the UK a year, by exacerbating health conditions including heart disease and respiratory problems, according to the Environmental Audit Committee. Nothing has been done or achieved to combat this ubiquitous menace with nothing in the pipeline to be done. The fossil fuel industry has the government in its pocket.
Last year was one of the worst years for acts of terrorism on British soil. 35 innocent people were killed. The fences of the electronic concentration camp imposed by the government and their intelligence services over all British citizens rose even higher. Undisclosed sums of taxpayers money rolling into the tens of billions in the name of national security was liberally dispensed every month. And yet, somehow, we are told that there is not enough to look after our most vulnerable, surely, one of the first duties of a modern democratic and wealthy nation.
Mo Stewart’s report below exemplifies yet again the ruthless pursuit by those in power and who is driving it.
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By Mo Stewart: October 2018 is the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as used by successive UK governments to restrict access to the out-of-work long-term sickness and disability benefit known as the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
The most radical reform in British welfare policy since the 1942 Beveridge Report was promoted as offering opportunity and releasing the potential of chronically sick and disabled people. It has been described ever since by politicians and civil servants as “supporting” those in receipt of long-term benefits for chronic illness and disability to return to work, regardless of any clinical diagnosis or prognosis which is completely disregarded by the WCA, rendering the assessment both meaningless and dangerous.
In reality, the adoption of the WCA in October 2008 introduced the greatest government enforced human suffering in the history of social security funding, as chronically ill people who are too ill to work are being, quite literally, killed by the State with an average of 90 people per month dying after being refused access to ESA and found “fit for work”.
It is surely cause for serious concern to learn that the government’s own mental health technical working group, as used by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2006 and 2007 to help to design the WCA, were then disregarded when advising the DWP that the WCA should be abandoned as it would create preventable harm, especially for those with a mental health problem.
As exposed by the Disability News Service: “Ministers and civil servants were “ruthless” and “reckless” in forcing through their new “fitness for work” test and refusing to abandon it, even after they were told of the harm it was causing…”
Perhaps of greater concern is that the 2005 DWP commissioned research “The Scientific and Conceptual Basis for Incapacity Benefits” by the former DWP Chief Medical Officer Mansel Aylward and former orthopaedic surgeon Gordon Waddell, as used by the DWP to justify the adoption of the WCA, has been totally discredited and has failed all academic scrutiny.
This DWP commissioned research funded by corporate America was used to justify the language of shirkers and scroungers in the relentless political attack on the sick and disabled community by adopting the Waddell and Aylward biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment for the WCA, and has been discredited by academic excellence.
Co-written with colleagues, Shakespeare’s paper concluded that the Waddell and Aylward BPS model demonstrated “no coherent theory or evidence behind this model” and revealed a “cavalier approach to scientific evidence”. That’s as damning a critique of one academic’s work by another that I have ever seen.
More commissioned research appeared in 2007 by the former banker David Freud. The ‘Freud report’ emphatically suggested that one million sick and disabled people should be removed from the then 2.68 million people claiming Incapacity Benefit, which was the disability benefit replaced in 2008 with the adoption of the ESA.
Justified by sweeping generalities such as “work is good for you”, when citing 2006 DWP commissioned research that presented very little evidence other than sweeping generalisations, Freud recommended the reduction of one million claimants whilst disregarding the health implications having later admitted in a 2008 interview that “I didn’t know anything about welfare at all when I started”.
Gently introduced by the New Labour government in 2008, it was the Coalition government who added to the burden of chronically ill and disabled people by manufacturing evidence for their official reports, and adding unnecessary austerity measures to the ongoing welfare reforms in 2010.
The DWP totally disregarding all detailed evidence of the preventable harm to public mental health created by the fatally flawed WCA, as independent academic research identified the WCA as being directly linked to an additional five hundred and ninety suicides in a three year period to this imposed ideological tyranny as NHS statistics identified 50% of ESA claimants having attempted suicide.
- “[…] In total, across England as a whole, the WCA disability reassessment process during this
(3 year) period was associated with an additional 590 suicides, 279,000 additional cases of
self-reported mental health problems and the prescribing of an additional 725,000
- “In particular the reviews indicated that the (WCA) process was impersonal and mechanistic
and did not adequately capture the impact of chronic health conditions…
- “Given that doctors and other health professionals have professional and statutory duties to
protect and promote the health of patients and the public, our evidence that this process is
potentially harming the recipients of these assessments raises major ethical issues for
- “Our study provides evidence that the policy in England of reassessing the eligibility of benefit
recipients using the WCA may have unintended but serious consequences for population mental
health, and there is a danger that these adverse effects outweigh any benefits that may or may
not arise from moving people off disability benefits…”
Using the Waddell and Aylward totally discredited biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment for the WCA, that disregards diagnosis and prognosis, leading to the inevitable death of thousands of chronically ill people, the DWP were very confident that their American influenced welfare reforms would be successful, not least because the British press had been silenced and would not report the influence of corporate America with the British welfare reforms.
Instead, the British press were successfully used to demonise those too ill to work, as the planned destruction of the British welfare state increased. Sick and disabled people were stigmatised by the dangerous commentary, and prosecuted disability hate crimes increased by 213% during the Coalition government’s term in office.
The latest DWP Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey MP, recently gave evidence to the Social Security Committee of the Scottish government, demonstrating that no details of claimant suffering and distress were of interest.